Just to muddy the waters a bit, it's been my experience that those using words like "connection, , patience, tolerance" can easily be as fear-based and aggressive as those using words like "break, strike, kill." "Patience" = "You are so unreasonable that I have to demonstrate my great patience to deal with you." "Tolerance" = "It's a good thing that I'm so tolerant because otherwise I'd tear you a new one."
NOT applying this to anyone here, obviously--I don't know Mary and I'm certainly not going to offer a psychoanalysis of her. :-) But I do think that those who use words like like "strike, kill" know they are playing with fire, whereas those who use softer language may have fewer triggers to remind themselves to examine the attitude beneath the language. On the flip side, don't assume that those who use stronger language aren't totally aware of what they're doing and what the implications are.
Great points. Many people who hide behind "nice sounding words" tend to be the ones with the greatest degree of difficulty in managing and dealing with overt anger. They are great at projecting their difficulties onto those around them who are much more comfortable in managing overt expressions of anger.
Real physical conflicts tend to be filled with a lot of anger. Very harsh and threatening words are typically used as weapons. Learning how to recognize the signals of fear and anger and learning how to use those signals so that you can respond in a centered, collected and effective manner is a hard thing to learn how to do. Learning how to effectively end a situation and remain safe (like Gary posted) is simply a good goal. There should be no more anger expressed in using words to de-escalate a situation than should be used in choking a person into unconsciousness. Each is simply a means to a safe end; nothing more and nothing less.
My experiences in conflicts has been that I was simply focused on ending the situation as quickly as I could by doing whatever it took to stay safe and keep someone else from harming me (or stopping them from harming someone else). There was no time to think about "peaceful words", fear or anger. There was only me acting in the space that I was in. Afterwards, the adrenalin rush and flood of emotions would be dealt with. These experiences informed me, and have shaped how I teach my students so that they don't have unrealistic expectations and beliefs. I try to provide them with useful skill sets so that if the statistically improbable situation occurs of them being in a real physical conflict, the skill sets might serve them well.
Hope to see you in New Hampshire this summer!